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Re: Fighter Fixes was Re: Re: Re: [GZG] Revised Salvo Missiles Update

From: Oerjan Ariander <oerjan.ariander@t...>
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 22:48:35 +0200
Subject: Re: Fighter Fixes was Re: Re: Re: [GZG] Revised Salvo Missiles Update

Robert Bryatt wrote:

>>It looks very ugly on paper (particularly if you read the "explain
>>everything in triplicate" version you linked to), but it actually
>>plays about as fast as standard FT2.5.
>On the face of it that seems unlikely, but I suppose it depends what
>one means by "about".

In this case I'd estimate that "about" means "marginally faster than
with similar numbers of fighters and ships".

>>Screening/escorting status is tracked by moving the fighter groups
>>into base-to-base contact with whatever they're protecting, and if
>>you track CEF expenditure by tick boxes on the fighter group's SSD
>>instead of using fiddly little dice on the fighter group's base,
>>you don't need any extra chits to track evasion either. So no, you
>>don't need even one single extra chit or marker :-)
>That doesn't seem to be true. What the "Fighter Fix" note *actually*
says is:
>"A fighter group within 3 mu of a friendly or enemy ship at the start
>of  phase 3 may declare that it is "screening" that ship instead of
>making a  primary move. The fighter will not move in phase 3, but
>will instead follow  the ship it is "screening" during phase 5 (Ship
>Movement). The fighter  group ignores its normal maximum primary move
>distance, and must stay  within 3 mu of the ship throughout the
>ship's movement. It may move to any  other position relative to the
>ship as long as it remains within 3 mu from it."
>Apparently there is *no* requirement for screening fighters to be in
>base-to-base contact with whatever they're protecting. So presumably
>some form of chit, marker or paperwork will be needed to distinguish
>a fighter group that is screening from one that just happens to be
>within 3mu, so everyone will be clear on when and how it's
>legitimately able to move.

Doh! Sorry about that - I forgot that "3mu" is longer than base-to-base 
contact if you use inches for measuring units... We use 1mu = 1cm, and 
since most of our ship and fighter bases are ~3mu across and we measure 
from centre to centre even for fighter groups, "3mu" and "base-to-base 
contact" become effectively indistinguishable :-(

'Course, the fighter screening movement rules come virtually straight
of FB1, including the 3mu distance! Whatever the reason, in the years
used the beta-test fighter rules we have never felt any need for 
"screening" markers - not even in battles with 50+ fighter groups per

>Escorting fighters do indeed have to move into base-to-base contact
>after declaring their status, but let's have a look at the escorting
>"A fighter group that is ESCORTED by another fighter group may not be
>attacked by enemy fighters unless: the escorting fighter group has
>fired OR the escorted fighter group has fired OR the attacking
>fighter group targets each escorting fighter with at least one of its
>own fighters, with only the remainder able to fire on the escorted
>fighter group OR the attacking fighter group is prepared to take fire
>from the escorts immediately, out of initiative order, before its own
>attacks are calculated. Note that once either the escorting or the
>escorted group has fired,the effect of the escort vanishes and the
>escorted group may be attacked normally by other fighters in the
>normal sequence."
>Frankly my brain melted halfway through that load of old garlic, but
>it seems there's plenty of stuff to record here, beginning with which
>group is escortED, and which is escortING, and perhaps going on to
>which fighter groups have fired and at what.

Try this instead:

"If an enemy fighter group tries to attack an escorted group before
the escorted group or the escorting group(s) have fired, the escorts may

immediately fire at the attackers out of the normal initiative order
the attackers fire."

This says exactly the same as the above quote, but uses only one third
many words to express it. See what I meant by "it looks ugly on paper
plays smoothly"? :-/

>>>In fact the privileged projectiles that receive this -3 DRM seem
>>>to be not just harder, but *impossible* to hit with non-PD weapons,
>>"Impossible"? No. Difficult, yes, that's precisely the point with
>>the -3 DRM; but beams still hit on successful re-rolls, and P-torps/ 
>>K-guns hit on rolls of  5+ at range 0-6 and on rolls of 6 at range
>I confess I hadn't thought of K-guns and P-torps in this context, but
>clearly you're correct.
>With the beam re-rolls, I am obviously not understanding something.
>Let's say a B2 fires at an incoming SM salvo, and rolls a 4 and 6.
>DRM-3 reduces the 4 to 1 so it's a miss? The usual beam mechanism on
>the 6 would give normal damage (two hits) plus a re-roll. However
>applying -3 DRM would presumably prevent the two hits from taking
>effect, so you're just left with a re-roll? Roll a 5 on the re-roll,
>and that's a miss? Roll a 6 on the re-roll and you again get 2 hits
>(cancelled by the DRM-3) plus another re-roll? I must be wrong here,
>so how does this work?

You missed the bit which says that only DRMs that are due to the *firing

weapon's* abilities apply to rerolls, whereas DRMs due to the *target's*

abilities or actions do not.
Why this complexity? Because that's what the [official] Q&As have said 
since very shortly after FB1 was published, and it survived into the 
beta-test fighter rules...

According to FB1 and the Q&As, an Attack fighter's +1 DRM applies both
the initial die and to any rerolls, but its target's screens (which are 
effectively a kind of "DRM" to beam dice) only degrade the initial die.

In the same way an Interceptor's +1 DRM applies to both the intial die
any rerolls, but the SM's -3 target's DRM does not (analogous to screens

not degrading rerolls). Because of this a roll of '4' or better on the 
reroll hits the SM salvo in spite of its -3 DRM.

(And yes, it would be a fair bit simpler if *no* DRMs applied to rerolls
:-/ )

>>>while Heavy Missiles are laughably easy to knock down (see next
>>Provided that the targets can bring their non-PD weapons to bear
>>against them (the HMs' secondary move can make that difficult) and
>>have enough FCSs to engage them with (a ship needs to dedicate a
>>separate FCS to each Heavy Missile it wants to engage with non-PD
>I think the secondary move of Heavy Missiles is problematic because
>of the reduced effective endurance imposed by the need to evade (See
>next point).

To me the secondary move is the heart and soul of the Heavy Missiles; it
that ability above anything else which sets them apart from SMs and

>The FCS issue is interesting though, because it's not
>just the *targets'* FCS that are relevant, but potentially every FCS
>on every ship that's in range and arc. I can certainly see FCS
>proliferating on custom designs for the new rules, rather as PDS do
>under the old ones.

As long as you can rely on your opponents using lots of HMs (or lots of 
FCS-eating EMP beams) this can happen; otherwise those extra FCSs cost
more than they're worth whenever you're *not* facing a HM wave (or

>>>2) Evasion and missile range: The "burn an endurance point for
>>>evasion" rule is very hard on standard Heavy Missiles which have
>>>only three CEF, greatly reducing their effective range if they evade.
>>I'm curious here: How often do you fire Heavy Missiles at their
>>theoretical maximum range of 60 mu? (3x18 mu moves + 6 mu target
>>acquisition range = 60 mu from the launch point.)
>We've only recently added Heavy Missiles to our games. I don't think
>anyone's tried to shoot an HM in a dead straight 60mu line, but one
>of my nephews tried to use the max range to zigzag and "sell the
>dummy" to intercepting fighters. I confess it didn't work ;) but he
>had fun anyway! More usual is to launch an attack from outside B3
>range, attempting to time it so that it's 18 + 18 + 6 (secondary) + 6
>(acquisition) mu, or a *potential* max of 48mu.

If someone launches HMs to hit my ships such that the missiles are
to fly 40+ mu from the launch point before they reach me, I will almost 
certainly be able to avoid most or all of them if I choose to do so (in 
Cinematic, that is). For me such long-range missile launches are purely 
intended to make the enemy move in certain ways so my ships and/or
can engage him with direct fires on favourable terms; any damage
by the long-ranged missiles themselves is an unexpected bonus.

'Course, since both sides are aware of this it is sometimes beneficial
take on the enemy missiles head-on rather than to allow the enemy ships
park in your (A) arcs!

>Burn one CEF for
>evasion under the new rules, and that range is cut to 30mu (less than
>an ER SM), or 42mu if you sacrifice the secondary, and any anti-ship
>beam in range and arc can still knock the missile down pretty easily
>(including that B4 from the other side of the table).
>Under the new rules the HM had better be used as a combined arms
>weapon fired from the same range as other anti-ship weapons.

Or as battlefield-shaping weapons, as described above. If I want Heavy 
Missiles to actually inflict damage, I launch them at short ranges.

>Launching from deep within the enemy's beam envelope would at least
>allow the launching ship to "decoy" some of the enemy's anti-ship
>weapon fire away from the missile :)

Or, conversely decoy some of the enemy's anti-ship weapon fire away from

your *ships*... particularly useful when you're facing Phalons ("Hm...
do I 
fire my Pulser-C at the enemy ships, or at this missile which will
kill *my* ship at the end of the turn...?"), but quite useful against
enemies as well.

>It seems that HM would become
>Yet-Another-Short-Medium-Range-FT-Weapon :\ *shrug*.
>It's suggested above that the secondary move somehow makes HMs
>difficult to keep in arc. I don't see that in cinematic where wide
>arc weapons are the rule

"Wide arcs" very rarely means "all arcs"; most Cinematic-designed ships 
lose a *lot* of their firepower when the missiles move from the (FP/FS) 
arcs into the (AP/AS) ones, and under the standard rules they can't fire

any anti-ship weapons at all at missiles that get into their (A) arcs.
yes, if you launch from 40+ mu away the missiles will most likely have
spend some time in the enemy's stronger arcs.

>>The Heavy Missile is around TMF 1 in size; the smallest spaceship
>>you can build under the Fleet Book design rules is TMF 2. Why would
>>it be impossible/unbelievable for the B4 to hit the TMF ~1 Heavy
>>Missile at range 48mu, when it is perfectly capable of hitting the
>>TMF 2 spaceship at that range?
>What seems unbelievable to me is that the anti-missile kill
>probability of the B4 at 48mu and the PDS at point-blank range is
>*identical* (0.5). If your PSB can swallow the idea that weapons and
>fire control are so accurate that a long range heavy anti-ship weapon
>can pluck a missile out of the sky at 48mu, how come PDS is so
>*inaccurate* at short range when it's purpose designed for shooting
>down fighters and missiles?

The B4+FCS combination is at least 9 Mass, ie. at least 9 times larger
the PDS. The FCS *alone* is the same Mass as the entire PDS. With that
difference in Mass (and cost), I really don't have any problem at all
them being vastly different in capability as well.

(It also helps that I don't see either the B4 or the PDS as firing *one*

shot each per game turn; instead I see them as firing lots of shots to 
saturate the entire volume the target could be in. At long ranges most
those shots will miss, but there are enough of them to give the B4 it's
hit rate at range 48mu. The PDS, being so much smaller, fires 
correspondingly fewer shots than the B4 - enough to give it a decent hit

rate at close ranges, but severely limiting its effective range.)

>The TMF2 ship you mentioned is an interesting point. According to
>Shiptool, a TM2 non-FTL ship could have a Thrust Factor of 14!
>In other words it could accelerate 14mu per turn indefinitely, while
>carrying a crew, life support fuel etc. By contrast an HM is
>restricted to a steady speed of 18mu for a measly three turns while
>just carrying a warhead. Seems to me that the HM ought to be a *lot*
>smaller than the TMF2 ship, unless the warhead is really, really big.

2D6 points of damage *is* really, really big :-/



"Life is like a sewer.
  What you get out of it, depends on what you put into it."

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